Public Policy is social agreement written down as a universal guide for social action. We at The Policy ThinkShop share information so others can think and act in the best possible understanding of "The Public Interest."

The U.S. Hispanic population has increased sixfold since 1970 | Pew Research Center

There is no larger, more monolithic group in the US with less power and with less representation at all levels of the civic and private sectors of American society.  Of the 53 million hispanics, a whopping 33 million plus are Mexican American.  This means that the current immigration impasse is largely, both internally and externally, a Mexican problem.  You can think of it as a “Mexican American Problem” or as purely a Mexican problem but in any case, Mexican Americans are a relatively monolithic community with a strong sense of their past, and an ongoing connection to the mother land (incidentally, Mexican Americans do not have to divide their loyalties between North America, i.e., the USA, and modern day Mexico, because the lands between the Rio Grande and the territories beyond the Alamo have largely been one continuous playground to a Mexican community that can easily claim to be Native American.  The so called “pilgrims” have a weaker claim.

Answering the question “Why have Hispanics/Latinos been in the US for so long and achieved so relatively little?” would go a long way towards unlocking America’s potential and promise of another American century of success.  The clock is ticking and American leadership and policy makers are asleep at the wheel.  The Latino community leadership is asleep as well…

“The Hispanic population grew to 53 million in 2012, a 50% increase since 2000 and nearly six times the population in 1970, according to the most recent U.S. Census Bureau data. Meanwhile, the overall U.S. population increased by only 12% from 2000 to 2012. Hispanic population growth accounted for more than half of the country’s growth in this time period.

U.S. Hispanic Population in 2012

Much of the growth is occurring in a relatively small geographic area. A Pew Research Center analysis last year found that the 10 largest counties by Hispanic population accounted for 22% of the national Hispanic population growth between 2000 and 2011. Half of these counties are located in California.

Nationally, Mexicans are the largest Hispanic origin group but the composition of origin groups varies by geographic area. For example, while Mexicans represent a majority of Hispanics in all but 11 states, Puerto Ricans are the largest group in New York and New Jersey and Cubans are most populous in Florida.”

More via The U.S. Hispanic population has increased sixfold since 1970 | Pew Research Center.

Filed under: access to education, analytics, Blogosphere, consumers, Culture, Culture Think, Data Trends - American Demographics and Public Opinion, Demographic Change, Discrimination, Education Policy, Education Reform, ethnicity in politics, Immigration, Latin American Alliances, Latinos, Leadership, Minority Males, New American Electorate, New Electorate, News, Public Policy

Pew Research Center’s Internet and American Life Project: Gadgets and technology are changing our lives…

According to Pew foundation research, technology is changing how we relate to one another.  Gadgets and communication tools are so prevalent in our everyday lives that the impact is bound to be pervasive and profound.  But what will this impact be?  And how do you feel about it?  Are you aware of how technology is changing how you communication to people in your life?  Is it improving your overall quality of life or is it becoming a hindrance?  You decide…

“The internet, cell phones and social media have become key actors in the lives of many American couples. Technology is a source of support and communication as well as tension, and couples say it has both good and bad impacts on their relationships.”

According to the Pew study:

The overall impact of technology on long term relationships

  • 10% of internet users who are married or partnered say that the internet has had a “major impact” on their relationship, and 17% say that it has had a “minor impact.” Fully 72% of married or committed online adults said the internet has “no real impact at all” on their partnership.
  • 74% of the adult internet users who report that the internet had an impact on their marriage or partnership say the impact was positive. Still, 20% said the impact was mostly negative, and 4% said it was both good and bad.

Tech as a source of support and communication

  • 25% of married or partnered adults who text have texted their partner when they were both home together.
  • 21% of cell owners or internet users in a committed relationship have felt closer to their spouse or partner because of exchanges they had online or via text message.
  • 9% have resolved an argument with their partner online or by text message that they were having difficulty resolving in person.

Tech as a source of tension

  • 25% of cell phone owners in a marriage or partnership have felt their spouse or partner was distracted by their cell phone when they were together.
  • 8% of internet users in a committed relationship have had an argument with their spouse or partner about the amount of time one of them was spending online.
  • 4% of internet users in a committed relationship have gotten upset at something that they found out their spouse or partner was doing online.

More via Pew Research Center’s Internet and American Life Project.

Filed under: analytics, Blogosphere, Changing Media Paradigm, Culture Think, Data Trends - American Demographics and Public Opinion, Social Media, Technology and You, Technology Trends

In U.S., 14% of Those Aged 24 to 34 Are Living With Parents

Has the great experiment of the 1960s failed?  Has the GI Bill, Community Colleges and the broadening of educational and economic opportunity that worked for the baby boomers failed for their children?

According to the Gallup organization, an alarming 14% of young people today are living at home with their parents.

“Fourteen percent of adults between the ages of 24 and 34 — those in the post-college years when most young adults are trying to establish independence — report living at home with their parents. By contrast, roughly half of 18- to 23-year-olds, many of whom are still finishing their education, are currently living at home.”

Just in terms of your current circumstances, are you currently living at home with your parents, or not? August-December 2013 results

More via In U.S., 14% of Those Aged 24 to 34 Are Living With Parents.

Filed under: Blogosphere, Culture Think, Data Trends - American Demographics and Public Opinion, Demographic Change, Parenting

FY 2013 ICE Immigration Removals

American immigration enforcement is necessary.  It’s goals and means at the present time may need reforming though.

Fueled by fear and political opportunity in the aftermath of the post 911 decade, this policy went into full force in 2010, despite the fact that so called “illegal immigration” had significantly tapered off.  The Obama administration, nevertheless, went full force ahead with this policy to appease popular fears and to give a sense of being tough on crime and of being pro national security.  It is clear that the affect of the current immigration policy is disproportionately falling on the Latino immigrants.  It is also labeling them criminals.  THIS POLICY MOST BE REASSESSED… In light of the hardships that illegal immigration causes for men and families running away from political, economic stress or toward the pull of the American dream, and the problems that it causes for an America whose labor markets have been themselves greatly stressed by the long, deep and lingering national recession, perhaps we need to take a good long look at how America is investing in its labor force and how it might better integrate and recruit needed talent from its neighbors to the south.  America will continue to age at an alarming baby boomer pace, by the time we hear all the reports of the “unintended consequences” of the current skewed immigration policy it may be too late.

The report fails to mention the nearly 12 million people who are not in the country legally.  According to the report only a fraction of this number (368,644) were removed, or deported, from our country.  The report fails to discuss the apparent problem that this policy is disproportionately affecting Hispanic immigrants.  For example, according to the PEW Foundation’s Hispanic Center:

“About three-quarters (76%) of the nation’s unauthorized immigrant population are Hispanics. The majority of undocumented immigrants (59%) are from Mexico, numbering 7 million. Significant regional sources of unauthorized immigrants include Asia (11%), Central America (11%), South America (7%), the Caribbean (4%) and the Middle East (less than 2%).” Source: 

People from Asia, for example, are underrepresented in the ICE immigration dragnet.  The connection to immigration from the Eastern European former soviet block and Russian gangs, for example, is also missing from the national security report.  Although we should not paint former Soviet block countries with a broad brush, the absence of many other groups from the demographics of this dragnet needs closer examination.

According to the most recent U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) report, the principle investigative arm of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS), “ICE has prioritized its limited resources on the identification and removal of criminal aliens and those apprehended at the border while attempting to unlawfully enter the United States.”

The data provided by ICE shows that most of the immigrants being affected by this policy are involved with the criminal justice system or are coming across our southern border from a handful of Latin American countries (see table 1 below).  Coming across the border without appropriate immigration paperwork is itself a violation of our national laws.

Table 1 – The Latino Immigration Dragnet (by the Policy ThinkShop)

FY 2013 ICE Immigration Removals

The Policy ThinkShop provides this convenient link for easy access to the full ICE report:

“In executing these responsibilities, ICE has prioritized its limited resources on the identification and removal of criminal aliens and those apprehended at the border while attempting to unlawfully enter the United States. This report provides an overview of ICE Fiscal Year (FY) 2013 civil immigration enforcement and removal operations:

In FY 2013:

ICE conducted a total of 368,644 removals.

ICE conducted 133,551 removals of individuals apprehended in the interior of the U.S.

82 percent of all interior removals had been previously convicted of a crime.

ICE conducted 235,093 removals of individuals apprehended along our borders while attempting to unlawfully enter the U.S. 1

59 percent of all ICE removals, a total of 216,810, had been previously convicted of a crime.

ICE apprehended and removed 110,115 criminals removed from the interior of the U.S.

ICE removed 106,695 criminals apprehended at the border while attempting to unlawfully enter the U.S.

98 percent of all ICE FY 2013 removals, a total of 360,313, met one or more of ICE’s stated civil immigration enforcement priorities. 2

Of the 151,834 removals of individuals without a criminal conviction, 84 percent, or 128,398, were apprehended at the border while attempting to unlawfully enter the U.S. and 95 percent fell within one of ICE’s stated immigration enforcement priorities. 3

The leading countries of origin for those removed were Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador.”

More via FY 2013 ICE Immigration Removals.

Filed under: Asian, Blogosphere, Crimes and Misdemeanors, Culture Think, Data Trends - American Demographics and Public Opinion, Demographic Change, Discrimination, ethnicity in politics, Immigration, Latin American Alliances, Latinos, New American Electorate, News, Political Facts and Fiction, Public Policy, symbolic uses of politics, WeSeeReason

America is in an ideological tug of war: Can we do better?

Too often, American public policy discussions are framed in single issue debates of pros and cons which make for great media theater and water cooler conversation–but never end in solutions… only in winners and losers.  To be sure, the real losers are once again the shrinking middle-class which continues to see a broken Congress continue to destroy the country.  An American dream Hollywood built and the middle-class made  sustainable by working itself out of the working class and buying into the popular media illusion.  This “progress” now seems out of reach for much of the children of that middle-class and for recent immigrants.  So where is America going?  What will happen to an America where honest and bipartisan discussion of real public policy problems is muffled by cable show sensationalism and campaign politics?  Can we do better?

Immigration is not only about people staying in America without a proper visa or citizen status; it is also about the American continent and the millions of people that have called it home for well over a thousand years.  From the perspective of native Americans the question is: Who is the illegal immigrant, pilgrim?   This includes millions of modern day South of the border Latinos whose ancestors have roamed across the Rio Grande for thousands of years.  From the perspective of the Eurocentric 1st, 2nd or 3rd generation American the clamor is: Go back to where you came from; you are not a real American.  As America fails to sustain a middle-class and integrate new immigrants it dies a thousand deaths one broken dream at a time.  Mortgage foreclosures, drug abuse, urban decay, and dead end jobs that cannot pay for healthcare or sustain a family are but a few of the pervasive signs that America is not only divided but headed in the wrong direction.

Complex public policy issues are never about one variable, one social or economic dynamic or simple yes or no choices.  Today’s media industry continually portrays a false choice in a tug of  war  between one dimensional unilateral actions to protect the perceived interests of one side against those of another.  In reality, public policy issues are characterized by complex social and economic dynamics that impact many publics and present several choices in terms of:

  • acting or not acting,
  • who (government or the philanthropic sector, for example) should act,
  • who should pay and
  • how much it will all cost.

The outcome of those choices and the quality of that debate ultimately impacts the cultural and economic health of the country.

American is killing its life source–IMMIGRANTS.  As such, it is killing itself.  For this we can all agree President Obama has failed to lead in this most important of public policy problems.  

“AS A presidential candidate in 2008, Barack Obama promised to enact immigration reform during his first year in office. Although his party controlled both arms of Congress for the next two years, he barely tried. Instead, he has presided over the greatest mass deportation in American history. As our chart shows, he has tossed far more Mexicans and other illegal immigrants out of the country than his predecessors—nearly 2m so far. Spending on border security is now greater than on all other types of federal criminal-law enforcement combined. Since migrants bring youth, energy and enterprise, this is an expensive way of making America less dynamic (as our leader this week explains). And the human costs are immense (read our story here). Families are torn apart; lives ruined. Yet many House Republicans still insist that they will not back immigration reform because they cannot trust President Obama to defend the border.”

via Daily chart: Obama and aliens | The Economist.

Filed under: Blogosphere, Culture Think, Data Trends - American Demographics and Public Opinion, Demographic Change, ethnicity in politics, Immigration, Latin American Alliances, Latinos, New American Electorate, News, propaganda and spin, Public Policy, symbolic uses of politics

6 new facts about Facebook | Pew Research Center

Facebook is a part of our lives, one way or another…   Even after the NSA scandal and everyone’s consideration of us having a “BIG BROTHER” problem, today’s youth continue to pour out their (and one might say their family’s) laundry and often their most intimate thoughts and wants onto the public face of the omnipresent computer screen.

The Pew Foundation offers an interesting article delineating 6 important insights we should all be aware of about Facebook and how it is impacting all things social in our lives…

“Facebook turns 10 tomorrow and reaches that milestone as the dominant social networking platform, used by 57% of all American adults and 73% of all those ages 12-17.  Adult Facebook use is intensifying: 64% of Facebook users visit the site on a daily basis, up from 51% of users who were daily users in 2010. Among teens, the total number of users remains high, according to Pew Research Center surveys, and they are not abandoning the site. But focus group interviews suggest that teens’ relationship with Facebook is complicated and may be evolving.”

More via 6 new facts about Facebook | Pew Research Center.

Filed under: analytics, Big Data and Big Government, Blogosphere, Changing Media Paradigm, consumers, Culture Think, News, Parenting

The Middle Class Is Steadily Eroding. Just Ask the Business World. –

The business world is always selling us something.  And thank God!  

Buying and selling is a huge part of our culture.  Measuring the value of what we own and what that means to us and those around us is also central to our social experience and identity.  America is about progress and the pursuit of happiness is at its very essence; we must always strive to have things and be places.  Understanding our place in the American social hierarchy  may not be as simple as counting our possessions though.  We are all Americans but we are not all equal–not even close.  Being an American is real.  But what about the so called “Middle Class”?  Have you seen it?  Do you possess a piece of it?  Are you standing in it?  If you can make a good argument that you are in it, will your children share as lofty an address?

Today’s NYTs clamors about yet another elusive metaphor that we have lived by: The Middle Class.  Illusive and metaphor because we cannot be sure if it really ever existed, at least not in all its Hollywood and public media glory.  Like the nuclear family propelled and burned into the public mind by popular TV shows like “Father Knows Best,” the middle class is a very inclusive category which most Americans strive to get into;  and yet another very important segment labors to stay above and beyond it (including today’s infamous top 1%).

For hundreds of years the extended family and agrarian life dominated gender relations, work, time and leisure.    The modern middle class and Levittowns (Levittown was the first suburb and is considered the “archetype” for America’s suburbs America’s.) are an economic creation buttressed by Hollywood and Madison Avenue cultures.  The Nuclear family of “Mom, DAD and Children,” can be similarly understood as an ideal.   Nevertheless, in perhaps a nostalgic way, today’s popular media considers the Middle Class in danger of disappearing, if nothing else, from our imaginations.  In historical terms the middle class was here for about a relative minute.  Gone so soon?

“In Manhattan, the upscale clothing retailer Barneys will replace the bankrupt discounter Loehmann’s, whose Chelsea store closes in a few weeks. Across the country, Olive Garden and Red Lobster restaurants are struggling, while fine-dining chains like Capital Grille are thriving. And at General Electric, the increase in demand for high-end dishwashers and refrigerators dwarfs sales growth of mass-market models.”

via The Middle Class Is Steadily Eroding. Just Ask the Business World. –

Filed under: access to education, Blogosphere, Children and Poverty, consumers, Culture Think, Data Trends - American Demographics and Public Opinion, Demographic Change, Economic Recession, Economic Recovery, Education Policy, Education Reform, New American Electorate, News, Parenting, Philanthropy, Policy ThinkShop Comments on other media platforms, Political Economy, propaganda and spin, Public Policy, WeSeeReason

Your kid got “As” and you did all you could possibly do to ensure their success… But Jr. is still dependent on you and you are trying to prepare to retire and rest? How can this be???

The National Center for Education Statistics is following the young.  It is doing so for very important reasons.  What becomes of America’s youth post educational experience?

This query is significant for most today because the recent deep and lingering recession has shaken many of the tenets families have long taken for granted: Go to college, do well, graduate, marry well, do well…  This “fairy tale” may no longer be the case for a significant number of young adults.  This is especially troubling for baby boomer parents who have experience a lifetime of social mobility and progress.  As the baby boomers age, they are increasingly troubled by an unexpected contradiction in today’s economy:  you may have done all the rights things and your parents may have done their very best, and you are still not ready for success years after you left your university cocoon.

The Policy ThinkShop invites you to read and comment on the following report by the National Center for Education Statistics so that you can help us give perspective to the growing debate addressing the inadequacies of our educational system as these relate to the emerging labor market.

Full Report courtesy of The Policy ThinkShop:

“The Education Longitudinal Study of 2002 (ELS:2002) tracks the educational and developmental experiences of a nationally representative sample of high school sophomores in the United States.1 This First Look report provides a descriptive portrait of these 2002 tenth-graders a decade later, when most were about 26 years old and had been out of high school for 8 years. In so doing, this report draws heavily on information collected during the 2012 third follow-up data collection.2 By this time, many members of the cohort had already completed postsecondary education, started or even changed careers, and started to form families.”

More via:

Full report at:

Filed under: access to education, Aging, Blogosphere, Culture Think, Data Trends - American Demographics and Public Opinion, Demographic Change, Economic Recession, Economic Recovery, Education Policy, Education Reform, News, Parenting

State of the Union: The Public Weighs In on 10 Key Issues

The Gallup organization has been measuring American opinion for longer and across more communities than anyone else that comes to mind.  Here is a nice article provided to you by the Policy ThinkShop to help you take the pulse of the American electorate in this times of change:

“President Barack Obama recommended a number of actions in his 2014 State of the Union address Tuesday. Some steps he will take using executive orders; others were requests for congressional legislative action.

Gallup data reveal how Americans’ views line up with 10 of these issues.

1. Immigration

“If we are serious about economic growth, it is time to heed the call of business leaders, labor leaders, faith leaders, and law enforcement — and fix our broken immigration system.”

Immigration is a relatively low-priority issue for Americans, with 50% saying it is extremely or very important for the president and Congress to address the issue this year. Three percent name immigration as the most important problem facing the nation.

Thirty-eight percent of Americans are satisfied with the level of immigration into the U.S., and 54% are dissatisfied. Most of those who are dissatisfied want to see immigration levels decreased. Although more Americans are dissatisfied than satisfied, satisfaction is the highest it has been since Gallup first asked this question in 2001.

Americans widely favor a variety of proposals to address illegal immigration, including tightening security at U.S. borders, requiring business owners to check new employees’ immigration status, extending the number of short-term work visas for skilled workers, and giving illegal immigrants in the U.S. a path to citizenship.”

MORE via State of the Union: The Public Weighs In on 10 Key Issues.

Filed under: ACA and Medicaid, Culture Think, Data Trends - American Demographics and Public Opinion

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